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HASTAC Zeitgeist, December 2013

HASTAC Zeitgeist, December 2013

This is the third in my series of monthly posts about what's "hot" at HASTAC (according to machines, not people). As I mentioned briefly in last month's round-up, December was a very unusual month for the site. To recap:

On December 12th, Arielle Schlesinger's blog post entitled "Feminism and Programming Languages" got Redditted. It was actually published in November, but went viral after being spread by folks interested in programming and "men's rights" on sites like Reddit, 4chan, Slashdot, Metafilter, Facepunch (classy!), Twitter, Facebook, and possibly the crowning acheievement in my opinion: Know Your Meme (a Cheezburger-affiliated site).  We usually get roughly 3,000 visits to on a typical weekday, we suddenly had over 36,000 in one day! Here's a visual to show the impact this had on visits to (click to enlarge):


So what did this mean for us? One big change we made was to moderate new user registrations rather than review them periodically during the business day and only moderate on evenings and weekends. This means that there is a delay of sometimes up to one business day for new members to start participating after submitting their user registration.
After exploding on December 12th, the site settled down when the late December holidays set in. To compare apples to apples, I looked at December of 2012 (see figures below). Our monthly unique visitors increased 367% from about 20k to over 95k, including over 20,000 visitors that came directly from Reddit in December.  Here on the site, we had 306 new members register compared to 101 in December 2012. We had slightly less posts and slightly more comments than the previous year, and twice as many members joining groups (109 joins vs 52 in 2012).
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the rest of HASTAC kept going - reading and discussing a wide variety of ideas in addition to Ari's great conversation starter about Feminism and Programming Languages. Here's the whole picture:
Most visited pages:
Top referrers:
Source Visits Pages / Visit
20,048 1.25
8,758 1.33
4,870 1.55
2,038 1.27
1,943 1.44
1,509 1.35
1,005 1.46
766 1.42
732 1.67
684 1.31

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